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Company History

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A History Of Willow Run Foods


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Willow Run Foods is the Northeast and Mid - Atlantic's premier fast food systems distributor. Serving customers in 14 states, we provide one-stop-shopping for our chain restaurant operators while focusing on building customer relationships and providing service that is second to none.

1949

Start of Willow Run Foods


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Willow Run Foods was founded in 1949 as a small retail door-to-door egg route delivered by Robert T. Hanley on his way to Triple Cities College. This egg route soon developed into a wholesale egg business selling to neighborhood grocery stores and restaurants. The original name, Willow Run Farms, came from Willow Point, a local landmark jutting out into the Susquehanna River.

1955

Another Egg Company


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In 1955, the company bought the Warren Wixen Egg Company in HorseHeads, New York and began to increase its marketing area.

1961

A New Name


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In, 1961, Willow Run Farms changed its name to Willow Run Foods and started selling frozen and dry foods to hospitals, restaurants and institutional customers.

1975

More Growth


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With the purchase of Homaid Brands, Inc. in 1971, Willow Run Foods grew and provided our customers with specialty meat products.

July 1989

Beginnings of ESOP



On July 1, 1989, Willow Run Foods became an ESOP, employee stock ownership plan, company. This allows employees to share in the growth and prosperity of the company because the employees receive shares of company stock and the value of the stock is determined by the success of the company.

1991

Becoming Specialized


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In 1991, Willow Run Foods sold the street portion of its business to Weis Markets. This allowed the company to specialize in servicing fast food, multi-unit accounts.

1997

Additional Growth


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In 1997, sales increased 40% requiring additional warehouse space. Willow Run Foods bought the former Grossman's Building in Vestal adding 19,000 sq. feet of dry warehouse space and leased 4,100 sq. feet of freezer space.

1999

Brand New Facility


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Controlled and continued growth is the goal at Willow Run Foods. Expansion has been nearly continual since 1949. In 1999, Willow Run Foods Moved its operations from three locations in Vestal, NY to a new state-of-the-art, 150,000 sq. foot facility in Kirkwood, NY.

2001

Making Our Facility Larger


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Growth continued in 2001 with the addition of freezer, cooler and office space and again in 2002 with the addition on the dry warehouse.

2003

Our Truck Expansion


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In 2003, the company added a 20,000 gallon fuel tank, put a canopy over the fuel island and put an addition on the Truck Garage enabling the company to lease space to Ryder.

June 2003

Fully Employee Owned



In June 2003, Willow Run purchased Bob Hanley's remaining stock making the company 100% employee owned. At this time, the company also transitioned to a Federal S-Corp idification allowing the company to reap the tax benefits associated with this change.

September 12, 2013

Willow Run Foods Inc. Announces Alternative Transportation Project

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Investment in 15 Compressed Natural Gas-Powered Heavy Duty Trucks

October 24, 2013

Willow Launches CNG Vehicles

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Willow Run Foods Inc., a Broome County food distribution company that delivers throughout the Northeast, is initiating an alternative transportation project at its state-of-the-art facility in Kirkwood that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The alternative transportation project, which is receiving $1 million from New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), includes 15 heavy duty compressed natural gas (CNG) trucks, leased from Ryder System, Inc. (Ryder).

2014

Now and Beyond

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Willow Run prides itself on the quality of its service and the spirit of its employees. The success and further growth of Willow Run Foods is dependent upon the effort, team,work and dedication of its employees. Through employee ownership, employees reap this success through annual allocations and ever-growing stock price.

January 2015

Willow Run acquires Checkers.

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Willow Run reaches $280M deal with Checkers. The company expects to add 25 employees because of the Checkers deal. Kirkwood-based Willow Run Foods Inc. has reached an eight-year deal worth $280 million with Checkers Drive-In Restaurants Inc.

May 2015

Willow Run acquires Five Guys.

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Willow Run reaches $375M deal with Five Guys. Kirkwood-based Willow Run Foods Inc. has reached a five-year deal worth about $375 million with Five Guys Burgers and Fries.

An employee owned company since 1989, Success through Customer Satisfaction!